Sir Alex Ferguson believes Wayne Rooney’s desire to be a manager will help the new Derby boss adapt to life in the hotseat.The 35-year-old former England captain has agreed a permanent deal until the summer of 2023, having succeeded Phillip Cocu on an interim basis in November.
An official Derby statement confirmed that, in accepting the manager’s role, Rooney had “elected to call time on his illustrious playing career to fully focus on his job” and he retires having scored 53 times in 120 England appearances and won five Premier League titles at Manchester United.United and England’s all-time leading goalscorer spent the majority of his career playing under Ferguson, who discussed his former striker on ‘A Team Talk With Legends’ panel on Friday night.Speaking in aid of Sports United Against Dementia and the League Managers’ Association’s charity In The Game, the 79-year-old said: “He is England’s top goalscorer, he is Manchester United’s top goalscorer and he has had a fantastic career as a player and it will give him a starting point.“But like anyone else it is a results industry and you need to get results. He will know that better than anyone.“He has had a good start… and he has knowledge of the game, a presence about him and I hope he does well.“It is a big step for him. He is quite a wealthy young man now with his career in football, so he probably doesn’t need to go into management to look after his family, but he wants to do it and that is important.“There is no point being a manager because someone asks you to be. He went there as a player-coach, he then become player-manager and now he has the manager’s job and that’s what he wanted. Hopefully he does well.”Rooney is the latest England international to swap playing for management, with Frank Lampard in charge at Chelsea and Steven Gerrard guiding Rangers to the Scottish Premiership summit.Scott Parker is another cutting his teeth in the Premier League with Fulham and Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate revealed his delight at the news from Pride Park.A #ThreeLions legend. Congratulations on a fantastic playing career, @WayneRooney!Wishing you all the best in management 👊 pic.twitter.com/5vXyBFbJqr— England (@England) January 15, 2021The final international appearance made by Rooney came under the current England manager in a November 2018 friendly at Wembley against the United States.“He has had an incredible career. I am pleased we have the likes of Wayne, Steven, Frank and Scott Parker – we don’t want too many (Jamie) Carraghers sitting on the sofa because those good football brains are gone from the game,” Southgate said on the ‘A Team Talk With Legends’ panel.“What you want from an England perspective is young English managers and ex-players to come in and add to the game and help develop young players.“Those lads have brilliant experiences and it will be a huge challenge of course, but Wayne loves football, has a fantastic brain for football and I wish I had the chance to manage him five years earlier – not be the one to leave him out of the England squad, I’d rather be the one picking him at his peak.”The @WayneRooney Derby County journey 🐏Captain 🡪 Manager 🤩#DCFC x #WayneRooney pic.twitter.com/ESU8NOF4WT— Derby County (@dcfcofficial) January 15, 2021Rooney, who returned to the UK from Major League Soccer side DC United to take up a player-coach role at Derby, replaced Cocu on an interim basis in November last year. He has led the struggling Rams to three wins and four draws from his nine league games in charge.“When I first arrived back in the UK, I was completely blown away by the potential of Derby,” Rooney said.“The stadium, training ground, the quality of the playing staff and the young players coming through and of course the fan base that has remained loyal and supportive. Despite other offers, I knew instinctively Derby was the place for me.“To be given the opportunity to follow the likes of Brian Clough, Jim Smith, Frank Lampard and Phillip Cocu is such an honour.Loved every minute of my playing career but excited to get started in management with a great club in @dcfcofficial.Thanks for all the messages and best wishes, appreciate them all ❤️ pic.twitter.com/zYABfF9UBx— Wayne Rooney (@WayneRooney) January 15, 2021“I can promise everyone involved in the club and all our fans, my staff and I will leave no stone unturned in achieving the potential I have witnessed over the last 12 months of this historic football club.”Rooney’s professional career began at Everton, where he made his senior debut in 2002 aged 16. His first England cap followed at 17 and he lit up Euro 2004 in his first major tournament appearance before being sidelined by injury.In the same summer he moved to Manchester United, breaking the record transfer fee for a teenager. He enjoyed great success at Old Trafford and is the only player to have scored more than 250 goals for the Red Devils, eclipsing Sir Bobby Charlton’s record in 2017.That same year he returned to Everton, before moving to DC United in 2018.Rooney was never able to replicate his displays at Euro 2004 at a future tournament and was sent off during England’s World Cup quarter-final defeat to Portugal in 2006.